Kool G Rap

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About Kool G Rap

Few rappers can claim to have changed hip-hop on a formal or narrative level; Kool G Rap did both. Born Nathaniel Wilson in 1968 and raised in Corona, Queens, G Rap met his creative partner, DJ Polo, when they were just teenagers. The pair’s first recording, 1986’s “It’s a Demo,” landed G Rap a spot in Mr. Magic and Marley Marl’s legendary Juice Crew; two years later, he appeared on Marley’s landmark posse cut “The Symphony.” The three albums G Rap cut with Polo between 1989 and 1992—Road to the Riches, Wanted: Dead or Alive, and Live and Let Die—are all masterpieces, and his solo debut, 1995’s 4,5 6, is perhaps more vividly imagined than any of them. G Rap is widely credited with creating mafioso rap, mapping Italian mob mythos onto Black American street life; this influenced rappers like JAY-Z, Nas, and The Notorious B.I.G. What’s more, he delivered these crime tales through knotty internal rhymes, his technique dazzling but never overwhelming his writing or his New York swagger. His later albums reveal a voice that has only grown wiser with age.

Elmhurst, NY, United States
July 20, 1968

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